#614 Musings Beyond the Bunker (Wednesday March 22)
There are a few moments in one’s life that are worth sharing broadly. Some are happy moments and others are not. Allow me this moment to recall a tragic event, acknowledge a happy event, and contemplate the need to share both.
THE TRAGIC EVENT
The last time we shared family news broadly was when our son Bradley passed away unexpectedly over five years ago. It arguably is the toughest thing one can live through. I don’t talk about it much—not because I don’t think about it but because tI don’t want to burden anyone and it isn’t particularly helpful for me.
My thoughts of Brad generally are of happy times. Memory is like that—and it’s good. There are times when I am reminded of his loss, most often through sharing others’ tragedies. Yesterday, I was with a woman who lost her husband. The other day, we were at dinner with a couple that also lost a child. It is at these moments, as I feel sorry for others, that I allow myself to feel sorry for us.
Curiously, I also am reminded of our loss most often when we hear of a death by suicide, the prevalence of which is exacerbated by social media and the stresses of a modern society. I think of our loss when I hear of another school shooting or of a tragic accident—the result, no doubt, of mental health issues but also the prevalence of absurd numbers of guns. I think of our loss when I consider another child’s life ended when perhaps there were things that could have been done to prevent such tragedy. I think of the families that have been confronted with this unfathomable loss that will forever be with them.
HOW ABOUT SOME GOOD NEWS!
I said this would be about recounting sad news and sharing good news. I think too often we focus only on the tragic and tend to gloss over the joyous events. News need not be sad to be shared in order to constitute news. Actually, someone ought to tell that to CNN! Indeed, it is even more important that we share our happiest moments. So, here goes:
Jake, our eldest, got engaged last weekend. We couldn’t be happier. He met his fiancée, Emma Kaeser, at Stanford. They have been dating for a long time (so it’s about time they made it official!). We are beyond excited to welcome Emma to the family.
Just as many of you experienced our darkest days with us, I wanted you to share with you this joyful news. It’s time to celebrate!
WE ARE ALL INVOLVED IN MANKIND
As I consider life’s ups and downs, I am drawn (as I often am at times like these) to the words of John Donne:
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
None of us is an island. If the recent pandemic taught us anything, it taught us that. We are all interconnected. It is part of the reason I began these Musings—to be connected with you and, through your comments, to engage with you more meaningfully and, in turn, share some of your thoughts with others.
Today begins the month long observance of Ramadan. It is a month of prayer and fasting. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of of the faith for Muslims. The other are profession of faith, prayer, alms for the poor, and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Ramadan Mubarak, my Muslim friends!
GOOD AND WELFARE
There is an agenda item at the end of many meetings of religious, charitable, and civic organizations called “Good and Welfare.” At those moments, people are encouraged to share good news. I think it is a wonderful tradition. We need to do more of it. And so, I offer my bits of Good and Welfare with you.
We are not alone. We are all, as Donne says, involved in mankind.
Today is a good day.
Have a great day,
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